Volume I : page 196
Chapter IV
Modern History


. . . after the history of England, that of America will claim your attention. here too original authors, & not compilers, are best. an author who writes of his own times, or of times near his own, presents in his own ideas & manner the best picture of the moment of which he writes.
letter from Thomas Jefferson to thomas mann randolph, august 27, 1786.
On the subject of the history of the American revolution, you ask who shall write it? who can write it? and who ever will be able to write it? nobody; except merely it’s external facts. all it’s councils, designs, and discussions having been conducted by Congress with closed doors, and no member, as far as I know, having even made notes of them . . .
letter from Thomas Jefferson to john adams, august 10, 1815.
Vater on the peopling of America. pamphlet. 8 vo.
1815 Catalogue, page 25. no. 12, as above, with misprint Valer.
VATER, Johann Severin.
Untersuchungen über Amerika’s Bevölkerung aus dem alten Kontinente dem Herrn Kammerherrn Alexander von Humboldt gewidmet von Johann Severin Vater Professor und Bibliothekar. Leipzig: bei Friedrich Christian Wilhelm Vogel [ Halle, gedruckt bei Johann Jacob Gebauer], 1810.
E61 .V34
First Edition. Sm. 8vo. 112 leaves, printer’s imprint at the end.
Sabin 33748.
Bound for Jefferson in tree calf, marbled end papers, by John March. Initialled by Jefferson at sig. I and with his original shelf mark, C:4 / 1 [i.e. Chap. 4., no. 1], written by him in ink on a slip pasted on the title-page. With the Library of Congress 1815 bookplate.
Presentation copy from the author. On November 18, 1809, Johann Christoph von Adelung wrote from Gatschina to Levett Harris: “Mr. le Professeur Vater a Königsberg, un des savans les plus distingués de l’Allemagne, qui s’occupe particulièrement de recherches sur les langues de l’origine des nations, vient de publier un ouvrage très interessant sur celles des peuples de l’Amerique. Desirant de sousmettre le resultant de ses travaux au jugement de Mr. l’Ex-President Jefferson, il m’en a remis un exemplaire en me priant de le faire parvenir en Amerique . . . J’y ajoute encore la critique très curieuse que le même savant a fait de l’ouvrage de votre Mr. Barton en vous priant de la faire également parvenir a Mr. Jefferson . . .”
Vater had himself written to Jefferson from Königsberg on November 4: “Be pleased to accept the book, which I take the liberty to offer You as a mark of the high vener- ”
Volume I : page 196
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